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Mailbag: A Change At Safety? Wright's Grade?


With the plethora of linebackers now – Jaylon, Leighton, Parsons, free agent Neal and Jabril Cox – what do you think about the idea of transitioning Cox to safety? – ROY BANNER / AMARILLO, TX

David: Just as a general philosophy, I'm not a big fan of fixing problems that don't exist. We saw only last year how much injuries can affect a season, so depth is good. On top of that, we don't know what the long-term future holds for Leighton Vander Esch, Jaylon Smith or Keanu Neal, so changing Cox's position when you might need him next year seems like an overreaction. Finally, I'm not sure you're giving a rookie the best chance to succeed by asking him to play an entirely new position the minute he walks in the door. I agree with you that safety is still a problem spot on this defense, but I'm not sure that's the best way to fix it.

Rob: It might seem like a numbers crunch at linebacker right now, but you can never have enough depth at that position. Look at the unfortunate injuries the Cowboys have had there over the years. Plus, Cox has special coverage skills at linebacker, something the Cowboys needed last year. I wouldn't try to remake his role where he'd probably have to slim down from 235 pounds. I'd try to build on his strengths at his natural position.

I understand each team has their own draft board and may analyze players differently. What did Dallas see in drafting Kelvin Joseph over Asante Samuel, Jr. and Nahshon Wright over Ifeatu Melifonwu? These two were highly rated on most media lists and wouldn't have presented such a reach for the critical CB position. – STEVE STROUP / FARMINGTON, MO

David: In the case of Asante Samuel, I think the answer is length, length and more length. I watched Samuel's college tape and think he's a heck of a player, but there was no chance the Cowboys were going to draft such an undersized cornerback prospect. We've known for a long time that they prefer tall, long athletes, and this draft class further emphasized that fact. As far as Nahshon Wright, it was obviously a very surprising pick. But to your original point, these teams evaluate prospects in their own way, and at the end of the day they don't care what we think.

Rob: Remember when the Cowboys started moving toward taller cornerbacks after Kris Richard joined the staff? Richard came from Seattle and Quinn's system. It's the same philosophy. Here's what Quinn said about the advantage of tall corners: "I think just, one, the length. You think about even in basketball. Somebody has to go out and defend, to have that length to go defend. And so, whether it's that corner where you can play right down on the line of scrimmage and make receivers go and release or it's a safety or a linebacker that you have to guard or tight ends that have length. When you have length, you can match some of that."

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